Opinion: Maybe it’s time to actually get political

The past few weeks have been challenging. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I think that this is just the beginning. We have seen attacks on the rights of women, attacks on the separation of church and state, and finally, we have seen a wish list of precedents to overturn from Justice Thomas. Unfortunately, it looks like states are eager to deliver on the idea of restricting rights.

At the same time, we are seeing more and more engagement by individuals and groups. Marches, rallies, festivals and other events seem to be popping up everywhere. What is conspicuously missing? Political engagement.

I hear it all the time.

“We try to avoid getting caught up in politics.”

“We want to remain non-partisan.”

Brace yourself because here comes a dose of reality.

The laws in our country are decided by lawmakers, otherwise known as politicians. That’s right, our laws are made by politicians. Your rights and freedoms are deeply intertwined with politics.

So, let’s think about it. Recently I was told, by multiple LGBTQ groups, “We don’t want to involve the LGBTQ community in politics.”

My only response was, “Well you and the extremists who want to attack your events agree on something.”

On another day when speaking with women at a reproductive rights rally, I was told, “A woman’s right to choose should not be a political issue.”

It would be nice if it weren’t. But the politicians in our state Legislature are determined to limit women’s bodily autonomy.

Finally, we could look at the people in this country who are tired of hearing about elementary students, or anyone for that matter, being gunned down. The thoughts and prayers brigade is out in full force after every one of those tragedies, telling us we shouldn’t get political. Each time, though, more people become angry and say, “Someone should do something.”

Yet it is a challenge to get people to vote or organize and drive support for candidates that would put forth meaningful, reasonable solutions for the gun violence epidemic in our country.

Now that we have a weaponized Supreme Court taking aim at our civil rights, the time has come to get political. Even if that is not something that you would normally do. It is time to send a message at the ballot box that we do not agree with setting our country back 100 years.

At all levels of government, our politicians make laws and set policies. They nominate and confirm justices. The extremist organizations that lobby our politicians have no problem being active. We complain that these organizations have an outsized influence, but they’re the ones ready to play politics and get involved.

Unless the rest of us — the majority of us — start raising our voices and taking action, we run the risk of watching our republic succumb to the tyranny of the minority.

David Roth is the Democratic nominee to the United States Senate for the state of Idaho, the former chair of the Bonneville Democrats and a local non-profit leader.